Lakes In Kyrgyzstan

23rd April 2024

9 Breathtaking Lakes in Kyrgyzstan: Nature’s Hidden Gems (2023)

Are you looking for the best lakes in Kyrgyzstan? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

From our last visit to this breathtaking country, we learned that Kyrgyzstan is a treasure trove of alpine wonders, and its pristine lakes are nothing short of pure magic.

Each one boasts its unique charm, from the ethereal Song-Kol Lake, nestled high in the mountains, to the mysterious Kara-Suu Lake, hidden amidst rugged terrains.

We’ve roamed the grassy jailoos, embraced the nomadic culture, and soaked in the surreal views that these lakes bestow upon lucky travelers.

So, get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty of the lakes in Kyrgyzstan and discover the allure that draws adventurers from far and wide.

Lakes in Kyrgyzstan

1. Issyk Kul

As one of the most stunning and renowned lakes in Kyrgyzstan, Issyk Kul holds a special place in the hearts of both locals and visitors.

Aptly named “Issyk Kul,” meaning “Warm Lake,” it lives up to its name by being one of the largest and deepest alpine lakes in the world that never freezes, despite its location in the mountainous region.

Nestled within the Tian Shan mountains, Issyk Kul offers a breathtaking sight with its crystal-clear waters reflecting the majestic peaks that surround it.

The lake’s allure extends beyond its natural beauty; it also has a rich history dating back to ancient times. Along its shores, you’ll find archaeological sites and historical monuments that provide insights into the region’s past.

The cool and pleasant climate around Issyk Kul attracts travelers seeking respite from hot summers, making it a popular destination for relaxation and water-based activities.

Tourists can indulge in a range of water sports, such as swimming, kayaking, and yachting, while admiring the picturesque landscapes that envelop the lake.

The nearby Jeti-Oguz Gorge, famous for its “Seven Bulls” rock formation, adds to the allure of this region.

Whether it’s leisurely strolls along the sandy beaches or exploring the surrounding mountains, Issyk Kul offers a diverse and unforgettable experience for those seeking solace and adventure amidst the natural wonders of Kyrgyzstan.

  • Area: 6,236 Km Sq
  • Location: Northern Tian Shan mountains in Eastern Kyrgyzstan

2. Song-Kul

Situated at an altitude of over 3,000 meters in the heart of the Tian Shan mountains, Song-Kul is a high-mountain lake that captivates travelers with its pristine beauty and serene ambiance.

Often referred to as the “Jewel of Kyrgyzstan,” Song-Kul is known for its unspoiled landscapes and vast grassy meadows that serve as summer pastures for nomadic herders and their livestock.

The journey to Song-Kul itself is an adventure, as it involves traversing mountain passes and taking in panoramic views of the rugged terrain.

Once you arrive at the lake, the breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains and the vast expanse of azure water greet you, creating a sense of tranquility that is hard to put into words.

For those seeking an authentic cultural experience, Song-Kul offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the traditional Kyrgyz nomadic lifestyle.

Many travelers opt to stay in traditional yurts, where they can savor local delicacies and learn about the ancient customs of the nomads. The warm hospitality of the local people adds a touch of warmth to the chilly mountain air.

Aside from the cultural immersion, visitors to Song-Kul can partake in activities like horseback riding and hiking, allowing them to explore the untouched beauty of the Kyrgyz countryside.

The sheer remoteness and pristine nature of Song-Kul make it an ideal destination for those seeking a true escape from the bustling world and a chance to reconnect with nature in its purest form.

  • Area: 270 Km Sq
  • Location: Song Kol lake Pionerskaya 20, Kochkor, 722600 Kyrgyzstan.

3. Chatyr Kol

Nestled amidst the rugged landscape of the Terskey Ala-Too mountain range, Chatyr Kol stands as a hidden gem among the stunning lakes of Kyrgyzstan.

Known for its otherworldly charm, this high-altitude lake is often referred to as the “Celestial Lake” due to its ethereal beauty and heavenly setting. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks and glaciers, Chatyr Kol offers a mesmerizing sight that leaves visitors in awe of its grandeur.

At an elevation of approximately 3,500 meters, reaching Chatyr Kol is an adventure in itself.

Travelers embark on a journey through mountainous terrain, crossing meandering rivers and traversing high passes, to finally reach the serene shores of the lake. The effort is handsomely rewarded by the breathtaking vistas and the feeling of being in a place untouched by time.

Chatyr Kol is a summer pasture for nomadic herders, and visitors can witness the age-old traditions of the Kyrgyz people as they tend to their livestock in this remote corner of the world.

The sense of tranquility and isolation that envelopes the lake adds to its allure, making it an ideal destination for those seeking solitude and an opportunity to escape the distractions of modern life.

The stunning reflections of the surrounding mountains in the crystal-clear waters of Chatyr Kol create a mesmerizing sight, particularly during the calm mornings and evenings.

Nature enthusiasts and photographers will find themselves captivated by the ever-changing hues of the lake and the dramatic play of light and shadows on the rugged landscape.

  • Area: 181 Km Sq
  • Location: Tian Shan mountains in At-Bashy District

4. Ala-Kul

Nestled within the Ala-Too mountain range, Ala-Kul is a glacial lake that enchants travelers with its turquoise waters and dramatic setting.

Aptly named “Ala-Kul,” meaning “Motley Lake,” it derives its name from the vibrant colors that change with the sunlight and reflections of the surrounding mountains.

As one of Kyrgyzstan’s most famous and picturesque lakes, it has become a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

To reach Ala-Kul, adventurers embark on a challenging trek that takes them through mountain passes, alpine meadows, and across roaring rivers. The journey itself is a testament to the rugged beauty of the Kyrgyz landscape.

As travelers ascend to higher altitudes, the shimmering waters of Ala-Kul gradually come into view, surrounded by snow-capped peaks that create an enchanting panorama.

Upon arriving at Ala-Kul, visitors are rewarded with breathtaking views and a sense of accomplishment for conquering the trek.

The pristine lake reflects the towering mountains that encircle it, creating a postcard-worthy scene that is a dream for photographers. The lake’s glacial origins lend it an otherworldly charm, and visitors often find themselves captivated by its serene and mystical aura.

As an added highlight, Ala-Kul is located near the famous Altyn Arashan hot springs, providing an opportunity to soak in the therapeutic waters and unwind after the trek.

The combination of the glacial lake’s beauty and the rejuvenating hot springs makes Ala-Kul an ideal destination for those seeking both adventure and relaxation amidst the wonders of Kyrgyzstan.

  • Area: 1.5 Km Sq
  • Location: Karakol city

5. Merzbacher Lake

Nestled deep within the Tian Shan mountain range, Merzbacher Lake stands as one of Kyrgyzstan’s most enigmatic and elusive lakes.

Named after the Swiss explorer Gottfried Merzbacher, who discovered it in the late 19th century, this glacial lake holds a mystique that captivates the imagination of all who hear about it.

What sets Merzbacher Lake apart from other lakes is its unique phenomenon of periodic draining and refilling. During summer, as the sun’s warmth causes the glacial ice to melt, the lake fills up, only to mysteriously drain through an underground fissure and disappear during winter.

This cycle of filling and draining makes it a transient wonder, with the lake’s existence being a fleeting marvel.

The lake’s remoteness and challenging accessibility add to its allure, making it a destination for intrepid explorers seeking rare and off-the-beaten-path experiences.

Getting to Merzbacher Lake involves a demanding trek through rugged terrain and high mountain passes, but the reward is an opportunity to witness a natural wonder that very few have had the chance to behold.

For those lucky enough to witness the lake in its full glory during the summer months, the turquoise waters and glacial ice create an awe-inspiring sight.

The surrounding scenery of snow-capped peaks and sweeping glaciers further enhances the ethereal beauty of Merzbacher Lake, leaving travelers with memories that will last a lifetime.

  • Area: 6000 m
  • Location: Engilchek Glaciers in the Tien Shan Mountains.

6. Kulun Lake

Nestled amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Kyrgyzstan, Kulun Lake is a natural jewel that beckons travelers seeking serenity and unspoiled beauty.

This enchanting lake is one of the hidden gems among the many lakes in Kyrgyzstan, offering a picturesque and peaceful retreat for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

Surrounded by majestic mountains and verdant valleys, Kulun Lake is a sight to behold, capturing the essence of Kyrgyzstan’s stunning natural diversity.

Situated in the Naryn region, Kulun Lake boasts crystal-clear waters that mirror the surrounding landscape like a mirror.

The tranquil ambiance and pristine environment make it an ideal destination for camping, picnicking, or simply unwinding amidst the soothing sounds of nature.

For those looking to immerse themselves in the great outdoors, Kulun Lake offers opportunities for fishing, hiking, and birdwatching, making it a paradise for eco-tourists.

The journey to Kulun Lake is an adventure in itself, with the drive through rugged terrains and scenic passes offering glimpses of the country’s rugged beauty.

As one of the lesser-known lakes in Kyrgyzstan, Kulun Lake provides an off-the-beaten-path experience that allows travelers to connect with nature in a profound and meaningful way.

Whether it’s capturing stunning photographs, experiencing the traditional nomadic lifestyle of the locals, or simply reveling in the tranquility of the surroundings, Kulun Lake promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of Kyrgyzstan’s wilderness.

  • Area: 3.25 Km Sq
  • Location: Kara-Kulja District, Osh Region of Kyrgyzstan.

7. Kara-Suu Lake

Nestled within the Issyk-Kul region, Kara-Suu Lake is a hidden gem that captivates visitors with its pristine waters and mesmerizing scenery.

As one of the lesser-known lakes in Kyrgyzstan, Kara-Suu offers a tranquil escape for those seeking a peaceful retreat away from the tourist crowds. The lake’s name translates to “Black Water,” which adds to the air of mystery and allure surrounding this natural wonder.

Kara-Suu Lake is an idyllic spot for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike, providing ample opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and camping amidst picturesque landscapes.

Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and lush meadows, the lake offers a stunning backdrop for leisurely strolls and moments of introspection.

The absence of urbanization and commercial development ensures that Kara-Suu remains a haven of untouched beauty, allowing travelers to connect with nature in its purest form.

The journey to Kara-Suu Lake is an adventure in itself, with the scenic drive through winding mountain roads offering breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

As one of the lesser-known lakes in Kyrgyzstan, Kara-Suu provides a sense of exclusivity and intimacy that allows travelers to immerse themselves in the natural wonders of the region.

Whether it’s savoring the tranquility of the surroundings, exploring nearby natural attractions, or simply marveling at the beauty of Kara-Suu Lake, visitors are sure to be enchanted by the allure of this hidden gem.

  • Area: 4.2 Km Sq
  • Location: Toktogul water reservoir close to the Taktalyk Ridge

8. Besh-Tash Lake

Tucked away in the captivating landscapes of Kyrgyzstan, Besh-Tash Lake is a pristine alpine oasis that beckons travelers seeking solitude and tranquility.

Set amidst the Tien Shan mountain range, this picturesque lake offers a breathtaking panorama of snow-capped peaks and lush meadows, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and photography enthusiasts alike.

Besh-Tash Lake derives its name from the Kyrgyz word “Besh-Tash,” meaning “Five Stones,” which alludes to the five large rocks scattered near the lake’s shore. These rocks add to the lake’s mystical charm and serve as a natural monument that has been part of local folklore for generations.

The journey to Besh-Tash Lake is an adventure through rugged terrains, rewarding visitors with stunning vistas and encounters with the country’s nomadic communities.

The lake’s secluded location ensures that it remains untouched by urbanization, providing a pristine environment where travelers can reconnect with nature and enjoy a true wilderness experience.

Whether it’s hiking along mountain trails, indulging in a peaceful lakeside picnic, or simply reveling in the serene ambiance, Besh-Tash Lake offers a tranquil escape that is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who venture into its pristine wilderness.

  • Area: 54 ha
  • Location: Besh Tash gorge

9. Zero Kara-Tokoy

Located in the picturesque Issyk-Kul region, zero Kara-Tokoy, also known as Black Lake, is a hidden gem that captivates visitors with its unique charm and natural beauty.

Surrounded by rugged mountains and verdant meadows, the lake offers a serene retreat for travelers seeking tranquility away from the bustling tourist spots.

Zero Kara-Tokoy is named after the dark hues of its waters, which shimmer like obsidian under the clear Kyrgyz skies. This enigmatic coloration adds to the lake’s allure and makes it a captivating sight for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers.

The lake’s remote location ensures that it remains relatively undiscovered, providing an exclusive and intimate experience for those who venture to its shores. Travelers can indulge in leisurely walks along the lake’s edge, take in the breathtaking views, and revel in the peaceful ambiance that surrounds them.

The journey to zero Kara-Tokoy takes visitors through scenic landscapes and charming villages, offering a glimpse into the rich culture and traditions of Kyrgyzstan’s mountain communities.

Whether it’s exploring the nearby natural wonders or simply basking in the serenity of the surroundings, zero Kara-Tokoy promises an unforgettable adventure into the heart of Kyrgyzstan’s untamed beauty.

  • Area: 1050 Km Sq
  • Location:

10. Lake Issyk

Nestled in the heart of the Tian Shan mountain range, Lake Issyk is a captivating glacial lake that enchants travelers with its turquoise waters and awe-inspiring surroundings.

Situated in the Issyk-Kul region, this ancient lake holds historical significance and is a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.

Lake Issyk is steeped in legend and myth, with tales of its creation dating back centuries. According to local folklore, a powerful earthquake caused the mountains to collapse, forming a natural dam that gave rise to the lake.

The area surrounding the lake is rich in archaeological discoveries, with ancient artifacts revealing traces of the region’s past civilizations.

The lake’s mesmerizing hues and picturesque setting make it a favored spot for outdoor enthusiasts and nature photographers.

Travelers can enjoy a range of activities, including boating, fishing, and hiking along the scenic trails that offer panoramic views of the lake and its surroundings.

Lake Issyk’s proximity to nearby cultural attractions, such as the Burana Tower and the Cholpon-Ata Petroglyphs, makes it an ideal base for those interested in exploring Kyrgyzstan’s rich history and heritage.

  • Area: 70 ha
  • Location: Tian Shan Mountains in Eastern Kyrgyzstan

Conclusion – Lakes in Kyrgyzstan

In conclusion, the Kyrgyz lakes offer a mesmerizing tapestry of turquoise dreams and serene landscapes.

From the hidden gems and heartwarming tales to the alpine wonders and pristine lakes, this breathtaking country captivates adventurers from far and wide.

Embrace the warm embrace of nomadic culture, explore the rugged terrains, and witness the surreal views that will leave lucky travelers in awe.

Kyrgyzstan’s beauty, enriched by its enchanting lakes, beckons all to embark on an unforgettable journey into nature’s pure magic.

Don’t miss the allure of these lakes as they paint a picture of nature’s true magnificence.

FAQs- Lakes in Kyrgyzstan

What are some of the must-visit lakes in Kyrgyzstan?

Kyrgyzstan is a treasure trove of stunning lakes, and some of the must-visit ones include Kulun Lake, Kara-Suu Lake, Besh-Tash Lake, Ozero Kara-Tokoy, and the famous Lake Issyk. Each offers a unique charm, from crystal-clear waters to breathtaking mountain backdrops.

Are these lakes easily accessible for travelers?

Yes, many of these lakes are easily accessible, and some can be reached by car or hiking. For example, Kulun Lake welcomes visitors with a scenic drive through picturesque landscapes, while Lake Issyk is just a short drive from the capital, Bishkek.

Are the Kyrgyz lakes safe for swimming and water activities?

The Kyrgyz lakes boast pristine waters that are perfect for swimming and various water activities. Whether you want to take a refreshing dip in Kulun Lake or try kayaking on Kara-Suu Lake, these aquatic wonders offer safe and enjoyable experiences.

Are there any hidden gems among the Kyrgyz lakes?

Kyrgyzstan is home to several lesser-known gems like Besh-Tash Lake and Ozero Kara-Tokoy. These off-the-beaten-path lakes offer tranquility and untouched beauty, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature’s serenity.

Are there any cultural experiences tied to these lakes?

Yes, many of the lakes are tied to fascinating local legends and nomadic culture. For instance, Lake Issyk is steeped in history and myths, making it an enriching cultural experience.

What activities can visitors enjoy around the lakes?

Visitors can indulge in a myriad of activities, including hiking, horseback riding, and camping. The Kyrgyz lakes’ surroundings offer fantastic opportunities for outdoor adventures and breathtaking photo moments.

Can you recommend the best time to visit these lakes?

The best time to visit is during the summer months from June to September when the weather is pleasant and the lakes are at their most vibrant. However, some lakes, like Lake Issyk, remain accessible even in colder months for a different kind of enchanting experience.
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